Christmas arrives early this year in the form of an RPI…What?


Last Friday I attended my first RPIW report-out in the Saskatoon Health Region (SHR).  RPIW stands for Rapid Process Improvement Workshop, a week long, intensive improvement exercise involving a team of providers, improvement consultants, leaders, and patients.

There is a lot of work that goes in to preparing for an RPIW, beginning up to 5 weeks before the actual event week.  On the last day of an RPIW week the team does a report-out, where they share their improvement story from the week. Team members describe the improvement problem they were tackling, the ideas they tested, what they learned from their tests, and what improvements they made as a result of what they learned.

SHR is currently running up to 4 RPIWs  every month.  They hold all of the report-outs on the same day, so anyone interested can hear all about the different improvements in back-to-back presentations.

Last week’s report-out was opened by Petrina McGrath, SHR’s Senior VP of Quality. Because this was my first report-out, I found myself listening intently to what was being said and found myself particularly struck by Petrina’s comment that attending report-outs is ‘like Christmas’ for her: “As someone who is responsible and accountable for this work, hearing the amazing results from these RPIW weeks is a real gift.

As I listened to each member of each improvement team talk about their work from the week, I began to understand more fulsomely, what Petrina meant when she said the report-outs are a “gift.” She wasn’t just talking about the results. I realized she was also referring to:

  • The fearless Lean Leaders who are going out on the gemba (shop floor) learning to lead, by learning to do.
  • The tireless Kaizen Promotion Office (KPO) specialists, who  are working behind the scenes to make sure everyone has what they need to do their improvement work.
  • Patients, who are finding their voice and sharing it loudly, clearly and equally, as members of these improvement teams.
  • The welcoming openness of staff who work on the units where the RPIWs take place.
  • The inter-disciplinary boundaries that are being broken down.
  • And the knowledge, energy and passion for change that everyone involved in these RPIWs develops.

RPIWs are changing the way we “do and act.” They are changing our culture and our mindsets, one RPIW at a time. This is the TRUE gift that these report-outs give us.

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One Response to “Christmas arrives early this year in the form of an RPI…What?”

  1. Heather Thiessen
    December 14, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    Hi Debra.

    Those report outs are certainly uplifting. I agree with all your observations.

    It is comforting to know that when we do these report outs, we are reminded of the SHR’s commitment to both the staff and patients to improvement. We saw that in Petrina’s emptional thank you to all who participated. They also tell us where we need to continue this needed work, it is not a quick fix. That great improvement takes time.

    I was involved in one of those RPIW report outs that you saw. I was also deeply struck by the genuine commitment of the SHR and senior management to make sure they happen.

    These RPIW’s and report outs are a gift for all people in Saskatchewan Without the dedication of all those who work so hard that week, change for the better would not be happening. What a precious gift from SHR to us all.

    Thanks Debra for such a great post.

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